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Post Move, the Celtic Classic, & Perfect Pour Guinness Video

Good morning to everyone out there who might actually be reading this.  What a busy few weeks it has been moving and getting settled in to the new homestead.  It has been a good kind of busy.  Just think of George and Weezie moving on up.  The first few days that was what I was thinking.  I even did the “George Jefferson Swagger” for Gina as that is one memorable swagger.  I will have some pictures or video next week of the new place.  Like I said, it has just been busy.  Well, that and one other slight issue.

In the process of packing, I wanted to make sure my SD cards were in a safe place.  This way, when we arrived in our new abode, I would be able to hit the ground running.  I could not even touch the ground as I put those SD cards in such a safe place, I forgot where I put them.  Yeah, perfect.  They are in a Talenti gelato container in some storgae bin.  Finding them will be my own personal home game.  Can I guess which bin my SD cards are in?  Tune in next week as I pull my hair out of my head checking the same containers over and over.  Film at 11.

I ended up buying to SD cards from Amazon in the meantime so I have something to record with.  The need was important as Gina and I will be attending the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this weekend.  The weekend will be a great reminder of our trip to Ireland and Scotland this past summer.  The trip is embeded in my memory as one of the best experiences of my life.  To be surrounded by the same feeling I had at Oliver St. John Gogarty‘s, the Guinness Storehouse, or even the Jameson Distillery is worth the trip to the Celtic Classic.

ImageThree2013The Celtic Classic offers the largest Highland Games and festival in North America!   In the tradition of the celebration of Celtic heritage, the Celtic Classic has endured both man and nature for over 25 years.  This September 27, 28 & 29, 2013, the Celtic Classic will return to Historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, renewed in its purpose, to preserve and promote Celtic Culture. They continue to bring the same great athletics, piping, music and dance to thrill and entertain the masses.

The essence of tradition is the interpretation of it by the people presenting it. The volunteers who will be bringing the 2013 Celtic Classic will put their own stamp on this world class event. On Saturday morning, Gina and I have a 10 AM whickey tasting.  They same kind of whiskey tasting experience we had in Edinburgh.  There is also a lesson on how to pour the perfect Guinness.  Another activity we eagerly learned in Dublin at the Guinness Storehouse.  Being able to take part in these activites is what will make the weekend worth remembering.  That along with all the pictures and cideo to be taken.  Bad joke?  Not really.

So when we get back I will have the updates I promised and talked about regarding my video blog, YouTube page, or whatever else one calls their video series.  I thought “Dave On Demand” sounded quite snazzy.  Combine that with reports from the Celtic Classic and my classes at Gotham Writers Workshop in a few weeks and you have quite a lot of topics to discuss.  So much time and so little to do.  Strike that, reverse it.

Moving has also helped me to relax and let my mind focus on what I need to.  I can associate it with a toy I had in the late 70′s.  It was an Incredible Hulk toy in a cage.  You pumped him full of air and he would expand to the point where his clothes would tear off before he broke out of the cage.  It was a fun toy.  I remember playing with it before having my tonsils removed.  My old place was sort of like that.  I was cramped for space, I needed to break out and let my mind and creativity have more space to work properly.

Now that I have had a few weeks to think and get my stuff situated, it will be easier going forward to do what I set out to do.  In the middle of it all I need to get my ass to a New York Giants or Jets tailgate this season.  The New York Jets are 2-1 behind Geno Smith.  It is painful to cheer for Gang Green, but I do it.  Thank you to my father for that one.

I need to start packing for the Celtic Classic.  I will be kilted and will have pictures for eveyone to see.  No, I will not be going regimental.  There will be Under Armour worn underneath just in case the wind decides to blow.  So as I am off getting pissed, enjoy a video of my wife Gina and I learning how to pour the perfect Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland from this past summer.

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2012 New York Jets Fans Fiscal Year Report

After the events of today, the Jets have ended their season in glorious fashion.  Jon Gruden said it best on the Jets final play against the Titans.  It was just ugly.  Their season was ugly and how fitting that their season should end on a fumble by Mark Sanchez.  The Jets have 50 turnovers over the past two seasons, the most of any NFL team.

Ugly, huh?

2012 has truly not been a banner year for the Jets organization.  For the fans, it has been even worse.  Year after year of promises, free agent signings, and supposed surprises, the fans have really had enough.  The Gang Green Piper needs to change his tune in order to get the fans back on board.  At a point fans were energized about the team’s future, investing in PSL‘s.  After this season, many are looking for a loophole to get out of their commitments or sell them outright.

This is not every fan.  Many dedicated Jets faithful will be back for another season next year.  Sending out their payments in mid 2013 to make sure they are in attendance for the start of another roller coaster ride.  Others I talk to have had enough and want off.  They have had enough of the ups and downs and just want to be a casual observer from their couch.

I know you may be shaking your head in regards to a fiscal year when it comes to the New York Jets.  They are not a public company.  No records to show on sales or growth.  Not even on which Jets season ticket holders have been with them for years and which ones are first time PSL holders.  There is little to no information on what true numbers the Jets organization has on their books by the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

The PSL is the stock Certificate and tickets are options.

You need to view this from a different perspective.  From the outlook of the fan investor.  The one who takes his hard earned money and decides each year that this recreational activity is worth the time and the investment.  Was the money laid out received back in a way that could rival a stock split or dividend.  Did you get full entertainment value for that dollar? 

In essence, the Jets fans fiscal year begins and ends with the NFL season.  Sixteen weeks, four months, four quarters to analyze the product and its value by the fans.  Their investment into a franchise that needs ticket income in order  to survive.  Just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars how important ticket sales are.

Every investor varies.  There are those with enough disposable income where this can be afforded as a luxury and necessity.  The choice to indulge in one’s favorite pastime as football is a life source of socializing and networking for a certain ticket holding investor.

Then you have those who have to save for a bit to enjoy days tailgating and getting frenzied up hard-nosed action.  The investor who puts years in and sees no ROI.  Each time seeing their hard-earned money, being invested in a product that raises expectations and then lowers their future outlook.  Somehow, to a few of these fans held over from Shea Stadium, “New and Improved” always feels like “Old and Inferior”.

Before the season even started, the Jets made their presence known with the signing of Tim Tebow.  We do not gave to go into a back story on his signing, activity, and his on field play.  It has been well documented by the media since the start of the season.  Expectations were high on Tim Tebow.  The Wildcat talk and much else kept his stock and overall use high. 

But as we all know, his on field play and use angered many and overall value made fans sigh with disappointment.  Weather his acquisition was because of Woody Johnson wanting to sell tickets or because Tony Sporano wanted him to help the Wildcat, it did not sell tickets.  But it did sell quite a bit of Jets merchandise & focus quite a bit of cameras on Gang Green.  In a way, Woody got a little of what he wanted.

Bottom line, the investment in Tebow did not equal the output expected by the team and the fans.  This added to  Jets fans having a bad fiscal year.

It seemed the Jets suffered more injuries than Evel Knievel.  Sorry Travis Pastrana fans, he still has a way to go to catch Evel! But from the start of the season when Darelle Revis went down then Santonio Homes, it seemed more and more kept piling up on the IR or PUP lists.  The revolving doors affected the Jets all season.  Dustin Keller could not find his groove with Mark Sanchez as in seasons passed to put points on the board. 

A sure sign of a Jets down economy

Jets performance in the first and second quarter were volatile.  There was no indication of a strong rebound to bring certain investors back to MetLife Stadium.  Projections for the second half remained optimistic, but with a team built more like a fantasy team than a NFL franchise with depth, many annalists were projecting a Wild Card at best.

Once the second half of the Jets fans fiscal year came about there was a slight climb in their value.  Once Thanksgiving showed its head, the team fell back into a slide.  Mark Sanchez and his play made that stock almost seem worthless.  His removal felt like a company taking out its CEO and getting someone in their fast to turn the ship around.  Greg McElroy stepped up in a loss to only receive a concussion which brings Sanchez back to a chorus of boos.  S

Stub Hub, the NFL Ticket Exchange, and other third-party ticket websites offer a certain market for season ticket holders.  A “stock exchange” of sorts where fans will sell their tickets for a certain value.  During the month of December, Jets tickets were being sold for less than $10.  The Jets received face value for those tickets.  The Jets season ticket holder would be considered lucky to even get 25% of face value in the month of December.  A month where fans might hope to make a profit on their tickets, can not.

What Woody Johnson has done to the season ticket holders  is beyond reproach.. The Jets have the highest average, non-premium ticket price in the league at $117.94, according to Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index. That is on top of personal seat licenses for all of those except the upper deck. 

If you look at the individual average per PSL holder assuming a minimum of two seats and a parking pass, the average season ticket holder is laying out an average of 275 per game, based on the above numbers,  before they even get to the stadium.  Lump in their PSL payment for the year  and APR if they decided not to pay for their PSL in full. 

The Jets are handling the financing of their PSL’s.  So that 6.5% or 8% that you pay to finance your PSL’s, goes right to the Jets as well.  Getting their little extra.

What exactly have Jets fans received back as ROI for that?

A preseason with no touchdowns. Regular-season losses by 34, 30 and 21 points. Parking aggravation. Cursing in the stands being seen on YouTube. And the biggest distraction in the league at backup quarterback.  None of this did anything to raise the value of on field play for fans to get behind the performance.

Not to mention Johnson begging the NFL to give the Jets a home game on Thanksgiving, ruining the holiday for his fans.   It is no wonder the Jets have been pushing advertising and commercials all over every piece of media they could to sell tickets.  Radio, television, websites, and more try to get fans interested in being a season ticket holder investor.

To the long time season ticket holder who gave their seats up to be armchair quarterbacks, the lure of penny stock  seats in the 300 section was not enough to make them venture out and be a part of what they once loved to do in the blazing heat and freezing cold.  To them, the tide changed, it is not the same.  It will never be the same and they did not want to move ahead with the change.  Instead opting to watch from a distance and spend their hard money elsewhere.

The Jets were 3-5 at home.  37.5% of their games were won at home.  Not a far return given the product on the field and the layout fans make each year in the country’s top market.  This with the highest ticket rates per average does not add up to a worthwhile venture. 

To the grizzled, tough skinned, dedicated fan, it still is though.  Still going so they can say they were there in the bad and the good.  The ones willing to pay any price to support their team in the flesh.  Patiently standing on the sidelines, in the hopes this turnaround happens in their lifetime.

It will, just a matter of when.  Do not make us wait longer than Rangers fans.

In today’s final game of the season, Mark Sanchez looked like a man with no confidence.  How could one make the best decisions in clutch situations in that frame of mind?

 Is that the kind of individual one would want leading a public company while the company’s stock is plummeting?  Someone not up to the task to the best of the ability needed to hold such a position?

I think not.

Do not let this happen, Woody.

Then the fans who have invested time and hard-earned money year after year should not put up with it.  At least stockholders have a voice in who should be leading that company.  It is time Woody Johnson had an open forum to listen to his stockholders.

The Jets have a large mountain to climb to turn this franchise around for the better.  It will not happen overnight, but more correct decisions sooner rather than later.  For the sake of your fan investor and the ones who hold off investing, do what is right for them.  Maybe then, that on field product might be enough to attract those fans rather than the blast style marketing. 

Jets fans were good this year.  They deserve a great gift to be proud of.  One that they will remember receiving the rest of their life.  Not a big shiny, well decorated, ornamental, box that it all comes in.

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What Makes One a Die-Hard or Dedicated Sports Fan

It has been an amazing season in the NFL.  I have not seen so many quarterback injuries and line up changes as I have seen this year.  The Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons have been leading the way not seen by their own fans let alone football fans in general.  RGIII and Andrew Luck providing their fans with a level of rookie excitement to fuel their desire to remain devoted to their team.

Every fan knows what it feels like for their team to endure a losing season.  Some fans know this better than others.  Look at the Cleveland Browns fans.  I think they have been waiting longer than many NFL fans for their team to shape up and make some run for a playoff game.  The Cleveland Browns have one of the most storied franchises in football.  I think they have waited longer than many.

We New York Jets fans have been though losing season more than we have witnessed winning seasons.  Every year we shake the Etch-A-Sketch in hopes that this year will be OUR year.  The year we make it into the playoffs and go all the way.  A chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and show our big brother Giants that the Jets are capable of winning it all.

We have been through worse.  Jets faithful have been through a 1-15 season during the Rich Kotite era that ended in disaster.  Things could always be worse, but we expect them to be better.

This has been a tumultuous season for Gang Green and their fans.  Many felt let down by the team in their performance while other continue to support them and attend games, even in the face of jeers, boos, and the hope that the Jets will pull one out at home.  Which, they did this past Sunday against the Cardinals.

Even at the Cardinals game, before McElroy came in the fans let their presence be known.  Every fan voiced their opinion in that game.  Even though the stadium looked like Swiss cheese it was still a loud stadium.  The noise of Jets fans was something to be noted as it went in both directions.  From those who wanted to see them win while others figured these “same old Jets” would just lose.  I am glad they did not lose.

Even through fans disappointments and accolades, some believe they are more of a fan than others.  I keep hearing how some believe they are a “die-hard” fan.  That because they bleed green and show up to every game, that makes them a die-hard fan.  Sorry to say but it does not.

Here is a true definition of the term  “die-hard”:
die-hard also die·hard (dhärd)

adj.  Stubbornly resisting change or clinging to a seemingly hopeless or outdated cause.

n. One who stubbornly resists change or tenaciously adheres to a seemingly hopeless or outdated cause:

In regards to the true definition, One who believes they are a die-hard fan of the Jets could be using the term out of context.  I found this in a certain case.

On Facebook with a Jets blogger, he said that because he purchased his season tickets year after year does not make him stupid, it makes him a die-hard fan.

Does it?

No, It doesn’t.  If you buy tickets year after year in hope of change and that the team will be better means you are dedicated, not a die-hard fan.  A die-hard fan would be in support of the current product as it is.  Resisting how things could be better but in turn, keeps cheering along its current path.

They may wear bags, but they have tickets. Dedication?

 

A dedicated fan would buy tickets year after year, support changes in the organization, and be a rock where others slowly fade away.  A dedicated fan of the Jets have been their backbone since the 1060′s.  The one’s who come back even in the face of adversity and losses.

Here is the true definition of “dedicated”:

ded·i·cat·ed  [ded-i-key-tid]

adjective    1. wholly committed to something, as to an ideal, political cause, or personal goal: a dedicated artist.

So in actuality, if you support the Jets in their present form and you keep looking for change to be positive, you are a dedicated fan.  If you want to see Mark Sanchez remain the starting QB from now until the end of his contract, you are a die-hard fan.

I believe some fans need to know the difference before they decide what term describe them most.

A person who is a fan of the Baltimore Colts or Brooklyn Dodgers today is a die-hard fan.  Being a fan of both teams from then until present days makes you a dedicated fan.

Remembering all the stats from the past fifteen years makes you a dedicated fan.

Creating a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page to update fans in real time about the team you have been a childhood fan of for years makes you a dedicated fan.

Dressing up in paint and nothing else in 20 degrees below zero weather makes you a dedicated fan.

Packing your tailgate with your teams merchandise, wearing your teams colors every game, and buying seats year in and year out makes you a dedicated fan.  It does not mean you are more dedicated than someone else because you opt to spend more.

Anyone  who is still a Jets fan through all the team’s ups and downs, no matter who is on the field, makes everyone a true dedicated fan.  We need to be considering the roller coaster they have had us on for over forty years.  Only true, dedicated fans would stay behind a New York team like the Jets.  Ask Mets fans about dedication.

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-Staate Today Before Giants/Packers Game


Tailgate 4 The TriState
will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief before today’s Giants/Green Bay Packers game as some tailgating crews have joined the cause.  Many have not just been chomping at the bit to help, but to chomp into some great BBQ as well.

Two groups have stepped up to offer their tailgating services to help us raise funds for  The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Red Lot G16.  Our latest addition, Top Shelf Tailgate will have their professional rig set up in Red Lot E26 just across from the turnpike off ramp.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

 

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Giants jerseys, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Giants players may show up as they have in the past.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Top Shelf Tailgate is the country’s first franchise tailgating opportunity.  Top Shelf offers trailers that are state of the art & built by them from the ground up to accommodate any possible need.  Catering to both children & adults the versatility is sure to please everyone. The kids can play the latest video games as the adults watch the big game on HD thanks to our DIRECTV satellite,
while our sound system keeps the music going & party alive.  A private bathroom is a luxury in the parking lot as well as the back yard.  The double keg taps conveniently serve guests the beverage of choice.  The possibilities are endless!

Top Shelf Tailgate will be accepting donations for T4T, for those seeking food and a chance to win Giants jersey’s can go to The Fan Van Party Bus

Also on hand by the Fan Van will be GMEN Shirts.  GMEN Shirts will have their shirts, sweats, hoodies, and more.  Portions of those sales today will go towards T4T.  So one could enjoy some music, food, beer, and grab some GMEN swag to show off your Big Blue pride.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

 

 

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Shaping Up, Giants Tailgaters Needed

Since we announced our plans to have Tailgate 4 The TriState raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, the reception has been moderate.

After consideration internally and from the opinions of others, we have decided to change the relief fund we are donating to.  Instead of the Red Cross, all donations will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The TriState to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

We would like to thank The Jets Press, Turn on the Jets, Jets101.com, and SBNation’s GangGreenNation.com & BigBlueView.com for helping us get the word out on T4T.  Without the support of the fans and websites like these, the word of Tailgate 4 The TriState can not spread to others.  We appreciate the interest of wanting to gather others for a worthy cause.

After reaching out to various tailgating groups for both the Jets and Giants, we only have a combined 4 location at both games.

For the Jets game we have Frank Conway in Lot L11, Dave Fier in lot L5, and the Fan Van Party Bus in Lot L6 for the Jets game and VIP lot G16 for the Giants.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Jets and Giants players.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

We are still looking for Jets and Giants tailgating groups to participate in the cause.  We thank those who are selfless and look to help those who do not have the means to help themselves due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

For those wanting to gets their morale boosted before the Jets take on the Arizona Cardinals, Firemen Ed will be making an appearance at Tailgate 4 The TriState on December 2nd to help us raise funds and fire up the Jets faithful before kick off.  Ed is passionate about giving his time for the right cause so we thank him in advance for his time.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

It irks me to have great support from the Jets fans and not the Giants fans.  I personally have reached out to so many individuals I have met tailgating, as well as other groups to only get very minimal response in return.  It shows me some tailgating groups only care about their own publicity & exposure rather than using that attention to do something right for those in need.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The TriState To Raise Funds For Hurricane Sandy Relief Before Jets & Giants Games

Last Monday was the worst hurricane or “superstorm” to be seen by the east coast.  New Jersey’s shore line devastated.  Fires rage in New York City boros and burn homes to the ground.  Manhattan darkened.  Possessions lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever.

A recovery and clean up seems eternal.  Gas lines may be getting shorter but so are people’s patience.  Power has yet to be restored in many locations while families suffering their worst heart break have yet to receive help of any kind.

My family has roots in Belmar, NJ.  One of the shore towns hit hard by Sandy.  My grandparents ran Levy’s Bakery on F Street for many years.  My Aunt Norma and Uncle Herbie lived down there until the mid 90′s.

I practically grew up in Belmar.  I can remember not just being on the beach and enjoying the ocean, but the holidays with family, spending hours upon hours at Rooftop Golf and Arcade, Zelbe’s, Siderhoff’s hot dogs, Klein’s, Djai’s, Bar A, and so much more of my life happened in Belmar.

Sandy removed the entire boardwalk and dropped it off three blocks from the beach.  A town devastated along with many communities that seek assistance in rebuilding the Jersey shore.

Like many Jersey natives my heart sank lower and lower watching the destruction.  Not just here in New Jersey, but Staten Island, Long Island, and every area in new York ravaged by Sandy.

I felt the need to do something.  I am not sure what exactly, but I wanted to do something for those that had their lives disrupted and still looking for the pieces to get it back together.

So many individuals, companies, Government groups, and so many more are doing what they can to raise funds and material items for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.  I did not want to carbon copy anyone and wanted an effort to be fun and unique while supporting a great cause.

I thought about the Jets fans I had met while filming my documentary about the Jets and their fans.  Here you have thousands upon thousands already in one location and many would be willing to support a great cause.

But why just limit it to the Jets?

Giants fans are very passionate and dedicated.  They bleed red and blue as much as a Jets fan bleeds green.  So extending an opportunity to donate to a cause that affected us all seemed only natural.

But the catalyst.  The concept to bring it all together to make it a worthy event where fans could give their time and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief.  Then it hit me.

Tailgating!

Every Jets and Giants fan likes to party and celebrate before any game.  Getting friends and family together to throw back some cold ones, grill up our meaty feast, and yell at those fans who wear the jerseys of the opposing team.  Ahh, yes….tailgating!

On behalf of Football Reporters Online, I am organizing Tailgate 4 The Tri-State.  We are looking for any and all New York Jets and Giants tailgaters to support T4T as all proceeds will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Myself and others not just lost power, but many lost food, belongings, and homes as well.  As New York area fans, we want to provide support for those who need to start over.  That is why we are organizing this relief effort to cover both the Jets and Giants tailgating.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.

The Giants & Jets have already given $500,000eacg for Hurricane Sandy relief.  We as Jets and Giants fans have a chance to show our support and make our contribution.  We have an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.

As of now the Jets tailgate on December 2nd will get loud as Fireman Ed Anzalone is on board with T4T.  Fireman Ed will be offering his time at where we designate the central tailgate to be.

We will designate a flagship tailgating location at both games once we hear back from those wanting to participate.

We just started reaching out to fans, other companies, and former players to get involved with T4T, so updates will be coming.  They can be found on our Facebook page.

When I contacted the Jets on Monday, I added this in my letter:

I am sure you know time is of the utmost importance on this (organizing this project).  I hope the Jets organization would want to support their fans efforts in coordinating a program to raise funds for Sandy relief.  Please contact me with any questions or when a decision is reached.  Thank you for taking the time to consider this for your next home game.

After hearing back from the Jets, they regretfully can not get behind and endorse a cause that is being held on the MetLife Stadium property due to other contractual obligations.

They will be announcing their own efforts where fans can help raise funds during the New England Patriots game on Thanksgiving.  So for our effort during tailgating, we will not have the Jets support. The Jets can only support fans efforts away from MetLife Stadium.

For those Jets or Giants tailgaters looking to have their tailgate participate in Tailgate 4 The Tri-State can e mail us at Tailgate4TriState@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page where there is additional contact information.

 

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Tailgating As Important As Game Day Event?

Last time I talked about how bad tailgating had gotten at MetLife Stadium .  Someone from Twitter had read my article and said there are more important things to talk about with the Jets.

I agree, there is.  I do that on Football Reporters Online Presents The Jets Zone on Tuesday nights at 8 PM on BlogTalkRadio.  I know cheap plug.  But when it comes to on the field talk that is where we get it done.

I prefer to come on here and use this medium for off the field talk.  The time when many fans enjoy themselves even before any kick off has been taken.  The pregame festivities are planned by some well in advance.  Even more so that what they plan on getting inside the stadium.

Tailgating has become a ritual for some.  Making preparation a week in advance and doing prep work well into the night before a game.

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006...

Lynn Swann campaigning in Philadelphia on 2006…

Leaving early to make sure one has a prime piece of tailgating property.  Marking their territory, ready to kick the tires and light the fires.

There are quite a few who decide to watch the game from their HDTV at their tailgate rather than buying a ticket.  Truly making a full day of their blacktop BBQ.

So much attention has been centered on tailgating in recent years.  This is one volcano that is about to erupt and develop faster than Mt. Vesuvius. Leaving behind nothing but refuse, tired masses, and plenty of merchandise.

These days for Jets fans tailgating has been creating more positives memories and gatherings than the Jets games.  Certain games fans wish would be enveloped by amnesia.

Tailgating is as important as the game to so many fans.  I know a couple tailgating groups scattered around every parking section that prepare for tailgating a little more than your average joe.

Creating the bigger and badder tailgate has become a competition for those who decide to bring in their grills on a flatbed trailer.  It is amazing how some not just build a better mousetrap, but a way to filet and prepare it as well.

English: Tailgating

English Tailgating

This past Sunday, many from across the concrete jungle watched the New England game while attending a huge tailgating party as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Thrillist and Bleacher Report threw their latest Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Tailgate Throwdown at Beekman’s Beer Garden right on the pier.

Tons of events like these have been run that gather Jets fans to revel with their fellow Gang Green brethren.  It allows fans to enjoy a tailgate they may not have considered before.  Getting a new experience on what it means to watch a game.

I am sure today many are out making the necessary preparation for tomorrows game regardless of who they follow.  Menus being reviewed, meat being prepped, and beer being stored by the case so no one goes thirsty before kick off.

When it comes to college football, tailgating is a whole entity unto itself.  Many even tailgate and camp out the night before and turn it into a weekend festivity.  College football has had true tailgating going back to the late 1800′s when people had picnics behind their horse drawn carriages hence the name tailgating.

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

NASCAR fans party 24/7 before the green flag drops

Now NASCAR knows the true passion of tailgating.  Thousands line up their trailers, campers,  and trucks on a Friday and party the weekend away just until the race on Sunday.  Now that’s tailgating.  NASCAR tailgating transcends what tailgating means.

So the next time someone tries to say tailgating is not worth discussing or not as important as the on field product, then that individual truly does not know the job tailgating does for their faithful blacktop chefs of BBQ.

Even the teams and companies who put out merchandise know the volumes of business it helps drive their way.  One can pass by a sponsored tailgate and see beer advertising, loaned grills, and free merchandise to help advertise their tailgating wares.

New York Jets fans know how important tailgating is.  The Jets do as well.  That is why they send Woody Johnson out there when they can to do PR to boost his positive image.  Certain Jets fans believe he visits tailgaters in order to keep a positive image and make fans believe he is just a regular guy.

But he isn’t.

Tailgating represents a way for fans to be individuals.  We may all arrive wearing the same colors and cheering on the same players, but we all tailgate differently.  That is why it is so much fun.  Everyone stands out in their own way and their tailgate becomes their own personal man cave.

No better place to throw some meat over an open fire.

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Torch Passed To Lower Class of Jets Tailgating

This past Sunday I went to my first Jets tailgate of the season.  Not game, tailgate.  I have not attended a game in the new MetLife Stadium.  Have had no desire to lay anything out to watch a team make their fans invest and suffer more than a Facebook stockholder.

Now I may not have the experience and knowledge to go in depth about some problems the team has on the field I can sure talk about off field happenings.  Especially when it comes to tailgating.

For the first time I paid to be in a stadium lot rather than walk over from the Sheraton.  We did have to walk over from the Izod using the cattle bridge but at least we were among the Jets tailgating faithful.  While making the trek from the Izod to the J & L yellow parking section,s I noticed a few things that made my heart sank as a Jets fan and tailgating analyst (made up title, I know).

The fisrt thing that was not just obvious, but rampant was the garbage left in the lots after tailgating.  I am not talking about after the game, I am talking about after tailgating leading into kick off.  It was disgusting.  Empty bottles strewn, half filled garbage bags left to collapse, and half eaten food noticeably in the lane of traffic.

One tailgate in L5 even left their entire set up available to all.  Not just some sandwiches left on the table, but an open van, DJ equipment, speakers, a popcorn machine,  and more just left unattended as if to say “take me”.

Now there was a tailgate across from the unattended one that was watching the game from their tailgate.  But it is not their responsibility to watch over another tailgates gear.  Either clean up or do not set up.
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Now I know a good portion of the port-a-potty’s have been taken away, that does not mean one should relieve themselves in the parking lot between cars.  Have more class than that.  Either use a port-a-john or head to the weeds/brush.  You make yourself and others around you look classless.

When the PSL’s were first offered, a large fall off of season ticket holders did not carry over to MetLife Stadium.  Many of these ticket holders could trace their ticket roots to the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  A wave of younger, more active, social conscious tailgater came to the forefront.

A few of the tailgates we passed seemed to keep partying going from the night before in Hoboken.  Complete with music pushed to eleven and dancing.  Now I can understand loud music to get ready for a game.  Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, AC/DC,  and other music like that.  I just can’t see club music as the style to motivate warriors.

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L7 sets up fast and cleans up faster

My wife en pointed out one or two that couldn’t hold it together.  One guy couldn’t be considerate and hold a girls hair so she does not get vomit on it.  Not a true gentleman.  Tailgating before a game should not have to get to that point.
No one is saying to not crank it up and have a blast.  Just do it in a way that does not draw unwanted attention to yourself & your friends.  The Jets have a proud tradition of loyalty from their fans.  Many still remember the days of the Titans at the Polo Grounds.

Tailgating has been about a ritual of great food, friends, and brew to drive us crazy for an upcoming battle.  If it was meant to bring the club to the parking lot complete with annoying music, binge drinking, & certain fans who really seem to be there for the party and not for the game, then the winds of change barely made a faint wisp.

One was able to notice a change in the tailgating climate once Giants Stadium fell.  Many that I knew and had been to for my documentary did not make the change.  Their tickets or seats purchased by a younger ticket holder.  The new element that has taken over the transition of tailgating in the color coded lots.

The socially connected fan who remains wired, in network, ,or addicted to wi-fi in any situation.  Tweeting by the minute or Instagraming a picture, booty shaking on the trailer.  I can remember when tailgating was about tailgating.

Go, have a great time, make some new friends, and feast away.  Just act accordingly and don’t give a reason to bring forth unwanted attention to you and others around you.  Personally, why would one want to give other fans a reason to speak worse about them than they already do.

Tomorrow night the Jets take on the 4-0 Houston TexansMonday Night Football games are in prime-time and so are the ans.  Have a tailgate that makes the SportsCenter Top 10, not the Not Top 10.  Even though some of that stuff is funny.  Have others laugh with you, not at you.  Now that’s memorable.

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Jets Tailgating Takes Flight Before Any Kick Off

Smell that?

Don’t get closer to your screen, what the hell is that going to do?

But there is a certain aroma, slowly being pulled in all directions by the passing winds.  If you concentrate hard enough, focus your senses, and tune in your palate you might be able to solve the quandary of what that is making you salivate more than a bulldog with a t bone steak.

DSC06894It is called opening day tailgating.  The central focus for many Jets fans hours before the opening kick off.  Some can sense the anticipation in the air and draw their energy from it for the day.

For some, adrenaline is what keeps them going from the moment they load their car until they get home.  Many draw their energy from their friends and other fans tailgating around them.  For the rest, they get it from 5 Hour Energy.

Anticipation builds each day like an internal fire.  It grows and grows until there is no containing it anymore.  At some point, opening day has to come to release the energy that has been building for weeks.  Energy that not only creates a spectacle for tailgating, but to assist the Jets from the stands towards a victory.

From burgers to brauts, steak to shrimp, and beer to…..beer, Jets fans can not wait until Sunday.  Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media application and some currently in development are being jammed with Jets fans eager to get the season started.

DSC07183Some tailgating groups use social media to not just set up their tailgate but to attract new tailgaters to their pack.  The L7 Tailgate was founded on Twitter and continues to grow with new members who only meet eight times a year.  More if there will ever be a home playoff.

Many from L7 meet in the off season and tweet on to be great friends.  It shows that distance and eight games will not stop those who feel the need to have that tailgate feeling all year.

I have walked from one end of the stadium parking to the other.  I even ventured over Route 120 and still made it back to the L5 tailgate in time for kick off.  Iver that distance, I have sampled my fair share of tailgating cuisine, Blacktop BBQ, and assorted Jets themed drinks.

DSC07192That first game of the season has a certain feel to it.  Fans wait over eight months to come out of hibernation and seek out pigskin glory.  Take this two ways.  Glory for the team winning on the field and having winning flavorful, tender ribs off the field.

The excitement for the battle in the stadium builds throughout tailgating.  The tension is so thick one can cut it with a Jets flag.  Random J-E-T-S chants, whistles, and all sorts of inspirational celebrating is done to help inspire the 13th man.

We gather like warriors, celebrating our bravest who fight for their faithful followers on the gridiron.  We rejoice with plenty of meat, brew, and pride before watching our green and white gladiators battle before our eyes.  Praying they return to us with a victory.

Every Jets fan feels that excitement.  That this year will be different from the last.  That not only will Gang Green return to the AFC Championship, but to the Super Bowl this time.  Opening day tailgating bring about that excitement more than any other home game.

DSC06932Tailgating is about friends and family.  It gives us time to see those we do not normally see.  To share stories of battles gone by to younger generations.  We bring new members into the circle to spread the word on how damn great our tailgate is.  These are the moments we cherish because it makes us smile in a way only those in attendance can understand.

Every man who can flip a burger or time a steak right has another moment to prove they are the Baron of BBQ, the General of grilling, or the culinary charcoal genius that makes everyone salivate when they see you preparing the days feast.  But behind every great man is a woman muttering under her breath so faint only the grill man can hear.

Laugh or roll your eyes all you want men, we know it to be true.  Doesn’t mean  we listen, but it is true.

So as you prepare to make whatever trek you have to take to get the the Meadowlands, keep the faith.  As tomorrow only starts the first of eight battles on our home turf.  Have the strength to tailgate on even n the face of a losing season.

That is what makes true Jet fans have the best stories to tell to the ones we plan on leaving our season tickets to.

Inaugural Fantasy Football Fest Fumbles The Ball, But Room To Improve

Last weekend I was in Atlantic City to cover the inaugural Fantasy Football Festival, a one-of-a-kind fantasy football experience according to the organizers, ReedPOP.  This was the first time any festival or convention was organized and catered around fantasy football.

DSC_4086ReedPOP, the production company behind New York Comic Con (the largest pop culture convention on the east coast), PAX, PAX East, UFC Fan Expo,  & Star Wars Celebration organized the festival.  ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans, is organizing the festival.

Headlining the festival were Philadelphia Eagles’ stars Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, New York Giants’ greats Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, former Washington Redskins QB Joe Theismann, NFL Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Chris Doleman, Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson, ESPN Fantasy Expert Matthew Berry and others as they participated in autograph signings, panel discussions and fan Q&A sessions throughout the weekend.

DSC_4091Aside from hosting your own fantasy draft live from the AC Convention Center with your friends, the inaugural festival in AC had a number of activities and special events throughout the weekend including fantasy expert round tables, video game tournaments, interactive athletic competitions (punt, pass, kick, sports memorabilia, & a tailgate party and beer tasting.

To read more about the festival and future events, you can visit their website at www.fantasyfootballfest.com.

Last Thursday night at 9 PM before the event, I was on the weekly Football Reporters Online BlogTalk Radio program interviewing our guest, Greg Topalian, ReedPOP’s Senior VP.  Gregg was excited about the coming event.  He mentioned the radio spots they ran, posting flyers on the boardwalk, and plastering any information about the event where ever they could.

Greg also mentioned how ticket sales were going very well and about 25000 tickets for the festival had either been sold or given out by the radio stations.  From all the information provided it sounded like the inaugural event was going to be a hot ticket in town.

DSC_4092But from those who attended, the event turned out to be a great effort rather than a memorable weekend.  Even Phil Simms could not wait to leave.  More on that later.

Day one started with about 25-30 fans waiting outside for he 10 AM opening.  I had this vision of a long line, maybe 100-150 people standing outside.  Chomping at the bit to get inside for a memorable fantasy football experience where one can also buy some memorabilia and meet some players for an autograph or two.

It was memorable all right, but not in the good way some may have liked.  By the time one was in the door, there was enough time and room to get everything done fast. Which many did.  Not many attended for fantasy football reasons.  Many came in and got the autographs they wanted and left.

Now some did come for fantasy football, but by the time the inquiries were done there was not much left to do.  Even though they had panels, fantasy football drafts on site, and video game stations lined up with Xbox & PS3 with Madden and NCAA football games, it was not enough to keep the patrons there.

The best part of the video game section was the original Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Techmo Bowl.  All one had to do was play as Bo Jackson to win the game.  Not a cheat, but a heavy advantage in the game.

There ere not many vendors inside as well.  There were a bunch of fantasy experts and websites to gain valuable knowledge from, but it was not enough to keep people there for an extended period.  After certain autographs were obtained, many fans left.  It seemed the players were more of a draw for some rather than learning how to draft your fantasy players.

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ESPN’s Matthew Berry & Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick & LeSean McCoy

Over the two day period there were less than five fantasy drafts overall.  Tables were set up to handle at least 12-15 per day at a time.  The panels also drew little listeners.  The only panels people sat and listened to were to the Eagles cheerleaders doing trivia and when the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and ESPN‘s Fantasy Analyst Matthew Berry were taking questions.

Besides the typical fantasy booths like RotoExperts, FantasyGuru, Fantrax.com, Gameday Fantasy Football, and a slew of others, companies like Fathead, Steiner Sports Collectibles, Jack Links Beef Jerky, World Poker Tour, Point Pong. and others tried to offer up football merchandise.

DSC_4208Sirus XM radio had their Fantasy Sports Radio show broadcast live as the event was going on.  Fans could listen in to fantasy experts give their opinion as well as former athletes give their analyst opinions on who to draft for your fantasy team.  94WIP Sports Radio, 97.5 The Fanatic, 97.3 ESPN Radio, & 103.7 WMGM Rocks were also doing certain live broadcasts or reports from the event.

For those wanting a true taste of playing on the gridiron, there were interactive areas where one could catch a pass, kick a field goal, or throw passes for accuracy.  The Giants Perry Williams was having fun along side the fans in the passing section.  Jets/Giants Billy Taylor was giving defensive stance tips to the Lingerie Football League ladies who were also a part of the festivities.

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Jets/Giants Billy Taylor with the ladies of the Lingerie Football League

One could notice some of the other players and former players in attendance wanted to get their time there over as soon as possible.  Many of the fans and even the vendors noticed how some shortened their time on purpose due to the low turnout.

For example, Michael Vick was originally scheduled for his autograph session from 1:30-3:30 PM and then a panel discussion with Matthew Berry breaking down the QB position from 4:15-5 PM.  LeSean McCoy was scheduled from 2:30-4:30 PM for his autograph session.  The only session that did not change was the QB panel discussion.  LeSean McCoy took part in that as well and it became a general Q&A session as well.

Both Michael Vick & LeSean McCoy had their autograph sessions changed from their scheduled times  to 5-6 PM.  $100 for Vick to sign any item and McCoy $60 for any item.  As soon as 5:30 came they both left before the end of their scheduled times.  This could be due to low autograph requests, low attendance, or the fact not many stayed until the 6 PM day one close.

They were great with the fans and signed whatever people presented and answered tons of questions.  One has to wonder why they would leave early.  If they got paid for one time and left before that scheduled time, they really made out like bandits.

DSC_4093Day two of the event saw less fans attend.  Even some of the vendors did not come back for day two.  Some even came in after the 10 AM start time.  The demeanor of the vendors showed their displeasure with the event.  From the supposed 25000 tickets either sold or given away it appeared less than 2000 attended the event.

My wife and I stayed at the Sheraton, less than 50 yards from the convention center.  One of the Sheraton’s attendants mentioned he had no idea the event was going on that weekend.  According to him, he saw no posted advertisements for the event.  While my wife and I walked, we barely saw any ourselves.  The only ads we saw were on a revolving billboard and light post flags leading to the convention center.

DSC_4254Outside the convention center, there was a tailgating section.   WMGM Radio was broadcasting live outside alongside the the worlds largest portable bbq grill.  It takes p the whole trailer of an 18 wheeler.  Johnsonville has three trucks and brings them to various events across the country.  The next stop after the Fantasy Fest was to Bristol, TN for NASCAR.

It appeared there were more food vendors inside than outside.  The driver of the Johnsonville truck was also the grillmaster.  Johnsonville was at the event to help raise charitable funds for the Marines.  But they felt let down by the event.

DSC_4253They claim there were no signs or posters inside to direct fans outside to the tailgating section.  After checking the event floor, there really was no signs.  They were all posted outside the doos of the event in various parts of the convention center.  We went outside both days and each time the tailgating section looked empty.

The guys from Johnsonville felt disappointed as they look to help raise funds for charity.  This event let them down as they could not raise the kinds of charitable funds for the Marines as they had hoped.

Day two also saw former Giants QB Phil Simms as the autograph attraction.  Phil was great with the kids and more than happy to talk to the fans and sign whatever they wanted.  I found out from one of his handlers that he drove himself down there that morning.

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NY Giants QB & Football Analyst Phil Simms

Phil Simms was scheduled from 11AM-1PM.  And like a few others the day before, he could not wait to get out of the event.  His line for autographs was short and he left the event before the end of his scheduled autograph time.  Phil Simms sped out the door so fast he beat Usain Bolt’s world record in the 100 yard dash.  I should know, I was behind him taking video.

The event may not have been an overall success for some, but for those who got what they paid for, they left satisfied.  I guess if you are a true fantasy football fan and you had your questions answered before you could draft your players, then it was a success.  If your kids saw the players you grew up watching and had them sign the autographs you wanted, then you left smiling.

If ReedPOP plans to do this event next year, there is a lot that needs to be rethought and restructured.  Not only do the fans who attend need to leave happy, but so should your exhibitors.  They pay for space on the floor and should be given a true chance to make a profit on top of their expenses for the festival.  If the exhibitors leave the event pleased, then they will plan  to return next year.

If there had been video game tournaments where players could play Madden, NCAA 13, or Siper Techmo Bowl with prizes and sponsor tie ins from EA Sports, Nintendo, Sony or others could have added more of an interactive feel to the event.

ReedPOP could show live status feeds from Twitter to encourage the use of social media to get people to the event immediately.  Even a prize every hour for the best tweet.

I enjoyed myself at the event.  The Philadelphia Eagle cheerleaders formed lines to welcome fans in and I ran threw.  I took my attempt at the field goal kick.  If you want to know how I did, come back when the video is up.  Plus I interviewed New York Giants Otis Anderson, Howard Cross, Perry Williams, Billy Taylor, Jets Bruce Harper, Ravens Tony Siragusa, ESPN’s Matthew Berry, and more.  So in order to know what we talked about, you WILL have to come back for the video.

DSC_4199If ReedPOP decides to do this event next year, I will come back.  I’d like to see how they can improve in their second year to increase attendance.  This convention can be a success with the right adjusting.  Take advantage of the successes it had and capitalize on it for next year.  You will find football fans do enjoy events like this as it provides the interaction fans welcome from players.

When the players are signing autographs & laughing, fans obtaining signatures and memorabilia, and vendors are interacting with sales and valuable fantasy information, then everyone is happy.  That is how you measure an event’s success.

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